Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

CIC Board

Center for Interfaith Cooperation’s board

Muzaffar Ahmad — Chair, Festival of Faiths

Treasurer and spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Indiana Chapter

Muzaffar Ahmad
Biography:

Muzaffar Ahmad

Muzaffar was born in Pakistan and has been in Indianapolis since 2000. He has a Master’s degree in Computer Sciences, an MBA from University of Indianapolis and is a certified project manager.

Muzaffar lives with his wife and two daughters in Fishers and when he is not working or at the gym, he loves to spend time with his family and volunteer. He has worked for religious, cultural, disaster relief and public speaking organizations. He is the treasurer and spokesperson for Indiana Chapter of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community since 2001. He has also served as president and general secretary of Pakistan American Friendship association, regional coordinator for Humanity First, board member for Seeds of Learning, member of Spiritual Oneness group etc.

List of Muzaffar Ahmad's speaking topics
  • Islam.
  • Muhammad.
  • Human rights in Islam.
  • Freedom of speech in Islam.
  • Pakistan.
  • Interfaith cooperation.
  • Extremism.
  • Terrorism.
  • Muslims for peace,
  • Loyalty and Life.
  • Diversity among Muslims.
  • Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Muzaffar loves to play Cricket and Squash and is interested in Football when Colts are playing good. He has spoken about Islam at several churches and universities throughout Indiana and have been on several radio and TV programs promoting Islam as a religion of peace, just like other major religions of the world. His message for Hoosiers is that our enemy is extremism not Islam. He has also written several articles in Indianapolis star educating readers about the peaceful teachings of Islam.

Why is interfaith important?

Growing up in Pakistan, he has been persecuted due to his religion. Several of his community members have lost their freedom, carriers and lives due to their faith. His own brother was killed for no apparent reason other than the fact that he was a member of the peace loving Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

These experiences motivate him to speak about his faith and religion in general. He believes that it’s not due to religion that people hate each other. It is because people use religion to hate. Muzaffar wants to harness the immense power of religion to promote peace, understanding and cooperation among those who may look, dress, speak or believe differently.

Favorite Quotes:

There shall be no compulsion in the religion
Faith matters, but humanity comes first
Love for all, Hatred for none
We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak

Contact Muzaffar Ahmad

Virgil Boyd — Program Committee

Family Development Services – Head Start

Virgil Boyd
Biography

Virgil I. Boyd, Jr. has been Food Service Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, Salesman, and Mortgage Broker. He has a passion for history and a commitment to voluneerism. Virgil is committed to interfaith because it gives an opportunity to share in belief systems, but not let anything divide us. Virgil’s favorite story is from Jonah 4:5-11. Jonah was being given a task, to give a message to save the nation of Nineveh. Jonah lost his human element of love, then he found compassion after the bottle-gourd tree dried up.
Some of Virgil’s favorite quotes:“

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”. MLK

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time” Thomas Merton’

“We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity. What we have to be is what we are” Thomas Merton

Contact Virgil Boyd

Betty Brandt — Governance Committee

Director of Spiritual Life Center, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church

Betty Brandt

Betty facilitates programming, co-ordinates hundreds of volunteers and teachers, welcomes new and creative ideas and helps people find an outlet for their passions and dreams. She is a force of nature.

Contact Betty Brandt

Rev. Freezell Brown — Program Committee

Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School

Rev. Freezell Brown
Biography

Freezell Brown Jr. is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis. He is an alumnus of Christian Theological Seminary, where he received a Masters of Arts in Religion (specializing in Religious Education), and a Masters of Theological Studies from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Christian Social Ethics. He was previously the Minister for Youth and Community at North United Methodist Church, and he has been the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School since 1993. Freezell is the past chair of the Jesuit Secondary Education Association’s diversity network and was a member of the Equity and Justice Committee of the Independent Schools Association of Central States from 2004 to 2008. He also is a former member of the board of directors for Global Gifts and is an active participant in a variety of community organizations.

Freezell lives with his wife, Maria, in the city and is the proud grandparent of eleven grandchildren. At Brebeuf, he balances his administrative role with teaching a couple of English classes that have a multicultural theme. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics, and he is a musician who both plays the guitar and sings.

Why is interfaith important?

Religious diversity is part of the richness that enhances life for all communities. My identity and life have been very much shaped by the relationships I’ve developed with people of many faiths, and I cherish the ways that they have made me a better person.

Favorite Quote

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Contact Freezell Brown

Jim Cotterill — PR / Marketing Vice Chair

Jim Cotterill is President & Chief Unity Officer of the nonprofit UNITE INDY, mission is “Connecting hearts, minds and hands to meet needs in our community.” UNITE INDY’s vision: Our city’s image transforms from “Indianapolis: The Crossroads of America” to “Indianapolis: The Heart of America.”

Jim was part of the founding group of Indianapolis Business Journal and other weekly business newspapers in St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Dallas as well monthly business magazines in Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio. He’s also founding president of National Christian Foundation Indiana.

We asked Jim why interfaith engagement is important to him:

As a Christian, I am commanded to love the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength and with all my mind, and to love my neighbor as myself. I consider everyone of every faith to be my neighbor.

His favorite quote? “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”

Contact Jim Cotterill

Kiahna Davis — Treasurer

Treasurer of CIC Kiahna Davis is CFO/COO of TeenWorks, Inc. Kiahna had two decades of experience in Corporate Accounting and Finance in the manufacturing and banking industries. She earned her Bachelors of Science Degree from Indiana University, Bloomington in Finance and her Masters of Business Administration in Accounting from Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion. She has served on numerous non-profit boards and organizations including Women’s’ Missionary Society of the AME Church, Peace Learning Center, 21st Central Scholars Advisory Council, Emerging Pearls Foundation, and Precinct Committee Chairman.

Kiahna says interfaith matters to her because it is an important dialogue to have as it has impacted our human existence for the beginning of time.

Her favorite quote: Psalm 46:5 — God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.

Contact KIahna Davis

Rev. Bruce Garrison —PR/Marketing Chair

Bruce Garrison, Pastor The Dwelling Place

Bruce Garrison Background:

Bruce grew up in a pastor’s home in the Assemblies of God denomination. He went on to act as president of Timeless Impact International, a Christian publishing organization that interacted with numerous denominations and organizations around the world, and that also cooperated with other faiths in humanitarian projects. He now serves as a pastor at The Dwelling Place, a church that incorporates aspects of the Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox traditions.

Why is interfaith important?

It is always important to show an attitude of acceptance, as well as a desire to develop greater understanding, toward people of all faiths and religious persuasions. This is how true community is established and nurtured. In a time when there is potential for racial, ethnic, and religious polarity and conflict, dialogue and interaction with other faiths is one of the primary ways to develop peaceful and meaningful relationships throughout local and wider community situations.

Favorite quote:

Every day preach a sermon; if necessary, use words. — attributed to Francis of Assisi

Contact Bruce Garrison

Jane Gehlhasen — CIC Chair

CIC Board Chair

Background:

Jane grew up in Huntingburg, a small homogeneous town in Southern Indiana as a Roman Catholic. She considers herself blessed that her career and her personal interests gravitated to international affairs. She held the position as International Vice President for a marketing research firm for more than 10 years before becoming the Director of International & Cultural Affairs for Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. She has traveled to more than 80 countries. She is passionate about the diversity of our city and state and focuses her work and personal life making business, government and our community more welcoming, educated and empowered to be effective in the global economy.

Why is interfaith important?:

Today Indiana is a global community with a very diverse population. With this diversity comes a broad sector of religions beliefs. Interfaith learning is exciting as it provides an opportunity educate ourselves and celebrate with our neighbors the wonderful characteristics that make us different, yet come together in unity to share our commonalities.

Favorite quote:

Be the change that you want to see in the world – Mahatma Ghandi

God, grant me Serenity to accept the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to know the difference. – Reinhold Niebuhr

Contact Jane Gehlhausen


Fr. Rick Ginther — PR / Marketing Committee

Father Rick Ginther is Director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Why Interfaith? Our diversity of religions is integral to the diversity of our nation, indeed of humanity. If our religions lead the way together to recognize our inter-connectedness through our life journey, then we shall enjoy our diversity even as we serve peacefully and justly our shared humanity and longing for God.

Native Hoosier, Indianapolis born. 1950. One of seven children. Grew up in a mixed racial and religious neighborhood. Educated: St. Andrew Grade School, the Latin School of Indianapolis, St. Meinrad College and School of Theology, St. Mary-of-the-Woods External Degree Program, Mount St. Mary-of-the-West Seminary, University of Notre Dame. Ordained a priest May 21, 1983. Have served in parishes: St. Paul, Tell City; St. Mary, Richmond; St. Margaret Mary and St. Patrick, Terre Haute; Little Flower, SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Our Lady of Lourdes, Indianapolis. Served as Director of Liturgy for the Archdiocese 1993 – 2005. Have served on various local boards (YMCA, Richmond; Terre Haute Ministries (ecumenical), Terre Haute; Near Northside Development Corporation, Indianapolis) and national boards (Cathedral Ministries, Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers); have been a member of National Association of Pastoral Musicians, Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions; and served on the Council of Priests, Priests Personnel Board and College of Deans of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. B.A. in History, M.A. in Scripture, M.A. in Liturgical Theology.

Favorite quote: Psalm 63:2-9

Deus, Deus meus

2 O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.
3 So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.
4 For your love is better than life,
my lips will speak your praise.
5 So I will bless you all my life,
in your name I will lift up my hands.
6 My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,
my mouth shall praise you with joy.
7 On my bed I remember you.
On you I muse through the night
8 for your have been my help;
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
9 My soul clings to you;
your right hand holds me fast.

Contact Fr. Rick Ginther

 

The Reverend Bruce Gray — Governance Committee

Rev. Bruce Gray is the Rector of Holy Family Episcopal Church

I was called to be Rector of Holy Family in March of 2018. This call came after I served nine years on the staff of the Bishop of Indianapolis, and before that serving in various congregations in California and Indiana. Despite the gray in my beard, I am full of energy and fueled by a daily curiosity about what God will be up to today, and how I might be called to participate in sharing God’s constant and infinite love for all humans and the rest of creation. My less lofty ambitions, but sometimes just as challenging, are to be a good husband, father, grandfather, and friend. My hobbies range from multiple sports to model railroading, with a willingness to undertake new adventures in various forms. Two important concepts for me are that first, God is always doing the heavy lifting in any given situation, and second, faithful sermons come from reading the Bible in one hand and the New York Times in the other.

Dr. Anita Joshi — Fiscal Sustainability Committee Vice Chair

Biography

Anita Joshi MD has been an Indiana resident since 1998.  She was born and raised in New Jersey and attended University of Connecticut Medical School; where she met her husband Arun Jain of 23 years.   Dr. Joshi currently practices general pediatrics in Crawfordsville IN.  She has been active on the board of trustees at the Orchard School, where she chaired the Diversity Committee for 3 years.  She has served on the founding board of the Riley Women’s Fund and currently serves on the board of trustees of the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana and on the Diversity Committee at Brebeuf Jesuit High School.

Anita has been an active member of the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana for the past 8 years.  She has been involved in the youth group program since that time first as a volunteer and for the last 4 years as a teacher.  She teaches the middle school students and has been developing connections between the youth in the Jain and Hindu communities.  She has also given presentations and conducted many tours of the temple for non-Hindu  children and adults to try and expand their understanding of Hinduism.   Having been born and raised in the US, Anita has a deep personal understanding of the experiences Hindu children face growing up balancing two cultures.

Why is interfaith important?

I have attended many events sponsored by the CIC including the Festival of Faith for the last 3 years with the Hindu Temple of Central Indiana, and have had an interest in becoming more active in the organization for quite some time. I believe that CIC represents what is best about Indiana and us as human beings.  There is more that brings us together than would ever separate us.  In this time of great change, an organization like CIC is a beacon of hope.  It’s mission of peace through understanding of multiple faith traditions, acceptance of diversity and celebration of each of us as individuals and as part of a collective community deeply resonates with me.

One of my favorite prayers and one that I recite with my students before each class is

Om Saha Nau-Avatu |
Saha Nau Bhunaktu |
Saha Viiryam Karavaavahai |
Tejasvi Nau-Adhiitam-Astu Maa Vidvissaavahai |
Om Shaantih Shaantih Shaantih ||

Meaning:

1: Om, May God Protect us Both (the Teacher and the Student),
2: May God Nourish us Both,
3: May we Work Together with Energy and Vigor,
4: May our Study be Enlightening and not give rise to Hostility,
5: Om, Peace, Peace, Peace.

Contact Dr. Anita Joshi

Uzma Kazmi — Governance Committee

Uzma Kazmi is Senior Vice President and Business Banking Market Manager at PNC Financial Services Group. With over 22 years of experience in Retail, Business Banking and Commercial Banking. Uzma has aggressively grown and managed a portfolio of clients with complex credit needs, as well as serving in roles from Senior Banker to Manager and Team Leader. Throughout her career, Uzma has been the recipient of numerous sales achievement and community service awards.

Uzma maintains active involvement in several community service organizations. Presently, she’s serving on the Board of WFYI, Indianapolis, as well as a Director for The Global Orphan Foundation. Kazmi received her Undergraduate degree from Ursuline College in Accounting and Finance, and has her Executive MBA from Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. Most recently, Uzma completed the Strategic Leadership Program through Harvard University.

Uzma, her husband and three children live in Westfield, Indiana.

Her favorite quote”

“PEACE BEGINS WITH A SMILE. SPREAD LOVE EVERYWHERE YOU GO. LET NO ONE EVER COME TO YOU WITHOUT LEAVING HAPPIER.” MOTHER TERESA.

Why is interfaith important to you?

We have more in common with each other than the differences we think we have. Once we focus on what’s common; respect for life, dignity, beliefs and values, we can work together to solve some of the major issues that are affecting our world, as well as the world our children will inherit. Together we are stronger!

Contact Uzma Kazmi

Faryal Khatri — PR/Marketing Committee Vice Chair

Islamic Society of North America
Biography

Faryal M. Khatri, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., is a community activist and leader. She has a dual bachelor’s degree in Health Systems Management and Economics. Khatri is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt with a certification in Lean Project Management. She is currently pursuing her masters’ degree in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Khatri’s strong passion for empowering and amplifying the voice of Muslim women led her to shift focus from operations management to communications and non-profit management. Currently, she heads the Communications Department of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Khatri is also the Editorial Assistant for Islamic Horizons, ISNA’s flagship publication. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Cooperation as the ISNA Representative and on the Executive Committee of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana Board of Directors.

Contact Faryal Khatri

Rabbi Brett Krichever — Fiscal Sustainability Committee

Senior Rabbi Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation

Rabbi Brett Krichiver came to Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation for one reason: to share his passion for Torah and the way it transforms lives and relationships. He strives always to teach our ancient text in accessible ways, and to reconnect members of our community with their heritage in the classroom and from the pulpit. He hopes to bring Torah into life’s most intimate moments: to inspire a new parent, or console a grieving spouse, to find words for the joy and love we feel when we are most connected with one another.

Rabbi Brett created transformational change in Los Angeles at Stephen S. Wise Temple, and then at UCLA piloting a new national program in Jewish outreach and engagement. He brought to Indianapolis his desire to bring Judaism to disaffected and unaffiliated Jews through real tikkun – social change, tefillah – new and engaging forms of worship, and to create a real sense of relationship and shared community.

Another great passion in our senior rabbi’s professional life is the cultural arts. He has produced multiple theatrical performances, and brings his own dramatic writings and Iyyunim (liturgical poems) into our community each Shabbat. Rabbi Krichiver seeks to engage and inspire through creative expressions of Judaism – music, visual art, and especially theater. He is a Wexner Fellow and a Bronfman Alum. He is a founding clergy member of IndyCAN, a community organizing group partnering with religious institutions city-wide. He also serves as a Board Member at Second Helpings and Planned Parenthood. He participates in the Northside Clergy Group, creating interfaith programming throughout Indianapolis, and serves on the Advisory Committee for Goldman Union Camp Institute, his childhood camp. He is past chair of the Indiana Board of Rabbis.

Rabbi Krichiver is married to Tami Krichiver, a licensed clinical psychologist. The love of their lives is their daughter, Sierra.

Contact Rabbi Brett Krichiver

Dr. Robert Laghaie — Governance Committee

Biography

Robert H Laghaie  is a Clinical Laboratory Scientist and Microbiologist. He came to the United State of America in 1979 from Iran and began working at Indiana University (1984-1998)  in cancer research and  worked at Veteran’s Hospital from 1988-2015.

From 1986-2015 he was elected Member of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’i of Indianapolis  and served as Treasurer and is currently a member of Spiritual Assembly of Carmel Indiana.

Robert was previously on the Board of Directors of the Refugee Resource and Research Institute .

Why is interfaith important?

He pursues interfaith for the  establishment of Unity , harmony and peace among the people

A favorite Sacred Text: “The Earth is but one country and Mankind its Citizens “ ~ Baha’u,llah

Contact Dr. Robert Laghaie

Wafaa Mamilli — PR/Marketing Committee

Wafaa Mamilli is Vice President, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Eli Lilly and Company where she leads a global, enterprise-wide information and product security organization. She started her career consulting in Paris prior to joining Lilly France in 1995. Before being named CISO, Wafaa held several international leadership responsibilities across Lilly, including a stint as Information Officer of their diabetes division.

Born and raised in Morocco, Wafaa also lived in the UK, France, and the Middle East before relocating to Indianapolis, Indiana in 2008. She holds a Master’s in Computer Science from INSEA in Rabat, Morocco. She holds another Master’s in Business Applications of Information and Technology from Université Rennes 2 in Rennes, France. Additionally, Wafaa holds a General Management Certificate from the London Business School. Most recently, in 2015, she graduated from the Harvard Business School Advanced Management program.

Contact Wafaa Mamilli

Daniel Meyers — Program Committee

Director, Center for Faith and Vocation at Butler University

Biography

After completing my undergraduate education in biochemistry and religious studies at Willamette University in Salem, OR, I moved to New Jersey to teach science at Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark Public.  I was a member of Teach For America’s Newark Corps and taught for three years.  Following teaching I got my Masters of Divinity at Yale Divinity School and explored various avenues of faith leadership, including hospital and university chaplaincy.  After graduation, I was ordained in the United Church of Christ and served as the Earl Hall Religious Life Fellow in the Office of the University Chaplain at Columbia University, engaging interfaith programming, pastoral care, and various aspects of chaplaincy.  Upon completing this fellowship, I came to Butler University as the director for the Center for Faith and Vocation.  My background has roots in the intersection of science and faith, I have experience in teaching and community work, I identify as a chaplain, and love to hike, climb, backpack, ski and generally be outside!

Why is interfaith important?

Interfaith work is important to me because it simultaneously demands me to know a great deal about my own faith identity while learning and gaining awareness of those who come from different faith perspectives and communities.  It develops the self and fosters relationship and understanding, both of which I think are necessary for effective and thoughtful leadership for our day.  Additionally, my own family has connections to multiple faith traditions and so it has always been important to me to do the theological work and make the relational efforts necessary to see the value in faith diversity and building understanding across traditions.  Interfaith community is part of my own story and I perceive it to be a central component of the work I hope to be part of as ordained clergy in the United Church of Christ.

Contact Daniel Meyers

Chirjeev Kaur Oberoi — Program Committee

Chirjeev Kaur Oberoi is Assessor Auditor for Local Government Finance in the State of Indiana. She has been active with the Indy Festival of Faiths since its beginning. Chirjeev was originally from India but calls Indiana her second home where she has been living with her family for last 20+ years. She did her master’s in business administration with emphasis in finance and marketing. She has been serving as a special events coordinator for the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis for the past few years.

Chirjeev says interfaith is important because it provides a platform which gives the individuals an opportunity to deepen understanding of other faiths and traditions, sensitively appreciate other faiths, and build bridges so that each of us can uplift ourselves and the humanity as a whole.

Her favorite quotes:

Realization of truth is higher than all else. Higher still is truthful living ~ Guru Nanak (Founder of Sikhism)

“Fear I none, frighten I none” – He alone is a divinely enlightened person who is not afraid of anyone and who does dot frighten anyone – Guru Teg Bahadur

Contact Chirjeev Kaur Oberoi

Dr. Vimal Patel — Program Committee

Hindu Temple of Central Indiana.

Sonal Sanghani — PR/Marketing Committee

Sonal Sanghani is with the Jain Center of Central Indiana.

Being raised in the largest democracy in the world was around multiple religions. I have seen multiple religions coexisting peacefully in India. Only way to grow personally and our community is through education, interaction and understanding of multiple faiths around us.

Dr Sonal Sanghani received her Ph. D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from University of Mumbai. She pursued her postdoctoral training at Medical college of Virginia and then at Indiana University School of Medicine. As Asst. Prof. at Indiana University School of Medicine her research was focused on Cancer Research and liver fibrosis. As she established herself at the Indiana University School of Medicine, she became the Director of the Biotechnology Training Program. In order to grow as a scientist, Sonal joined Sensient Technologies as R&D manager where she achieved the rank of R&D Director. Throughout her career, Sonal has authored approximately 20 peer reviewed articles.

Her favorite quote:

अहिंसा परमो धर्मः
धर्म हिंसा तथीव च
Ahimsa Paramo Dharma
Dharma himsa tathaiva cha[3]
Non-violence is the ultimate religion

Contact Sonal Sanghani

Aarti Shah — Governance Committee


Vice President
Eli Lilly and Company
Global Statistical Sciences and Advanced Analytics
Background:

Born and raised in India. I came to United States for my higher education in Fall of 1988. I received my PhD in Statistics from University of California, Riverside in 1993 and joined Lilly in Jan of 1994. I have been married for 25+ years and a mother of 2 lovely boys (18 and 16 years of age). My husband’s name is Shreyas Shah and my boys are Kushal and Neil Shah.

Why is interfaith important?

The thread that connects us all together is what is imbedded in our respective faiths and at the very core the various faiths have the following in common – they teach us to love, kindness, peace and universal friendship for all living beings. Only through open dialogue, listening to each other with open minds and respecting each other’s beliefs can we bring peace and harmony in the communities we live and in this world. There is lots to learn from each other and there is more in common than we think and hence interfaith is important to me.

Favorite quote (sacred text, story, poem, other):

Song #1

“Khamemi savvajive, savve jiva khamantu me |
Mitti me savva bhuesu, veram majjham na kenai ||”

Meaning:

I forgive all living beings,
May all living beings grant me forgiveness.
My friendship is with all living beings,
I have no hatred towards anybody.

Poem: Universal Song of Friendship

Song (in Gujarati, Indian Language) English Translation
Maitri Bhavanu Pavitra Zaranu,
Muj Haiya Ma Vahya Kare,
Shubh Thao Aa Sakal Vishvanu,
Evi Bhavana Nitya Rahe.Gunathi Bharela Gunijana Dekhi,
Haiyu Maru Nrutya Kare,
A Santo Na Charan Kamal Ma,
Muj Jivan No Ardhaya Rahe.Din Krur Ne Dharma Vihona,
Dekhi Dilma Dard Rahe,
Karuna Bhini Ankho Mathi,
Ashruno Shubh Shrot Vahe.Marg Bhulela Jivan Pathik Ne,
Marg Chindhava Ubho Rahu,
Kare Upexa A Marag Ni,
To Ye Samata Chitt Dharu.Chitrabhanuni Dharma Bhavana,
Haiye Sau Manav Lave,
Ver Zer Na Paap Taji Ne,
Mangal Geeto Sau Gave.
May the sacred stream of amity
Flow forever in my heart.
May the universe prosper,
Such is my cherished desire.May my heart sing with ecstasy
At the sight of the virtuous.
May my life be
An offering at their feet.May my heart bleed at the sight of
The wretched, the cruel, the irreligious.
May tears of compassion
Flow from my eyes.May I always be there to show the path
To the pathless wanderers of life.
Yet if they should not hearken to me,
May I bide in patience.May the spirit of goodwill
Enter all our hearts.
May we all sing in chorus
The immortal song of human concord

Contact Aarti shah

Judge David Shaheed — Vice Chair of CIC's board

David Shaheed became the judge in Civil Court 1 in August, 2007. Prior to this assignment, Shaheed presided over Criminal Court 14, the Drug Treatment Diversion Court and Reentry Court. The Indiana Correctional Association chose Shaheed as 2007 Judge of the Year for his work with ex-offenders and defendants trying to recover from substance abuse.

Shaheed was a judicial officer in the Marion County Superior Court beginning in 1994 starting as a master commissioner and being appointed judge by Governor Frank O’Bannon in September 1999. Shaheed has also worked as an attorney for the State of Indiana and a chief administrative law judge.

Shaheed was on the board of directors for Seeds of Hope, (a shelter for women in recovery), former vice-president of the Indiana Juvenile Justice Task and President of the Interfaith Alliance of Indianapolis and current board member of the Center for Interfaith Cooperation.

Reverend Brian Shivers — Fiscal Sustainability Committee

Brian Shivers has directed youth ministries at Second Presbyterian Church since 1990, and now serves as the senior staff liaison to the session committee of Spiritual Life. He received his master of divinity degree at Christian Theological Seminary in 2010 and was ordained into ministry of Word and Sacrament in the spring of 2011. He was also called and installed as the Associate Pastor of Youth and College Ministries.

Brian was born and raised in Marion, Indiana, where he attended Marion High School. He played sports and sang in a school choir. Brian met his wife Jennifer during high school at church.

Both Brian and Jennifer attended Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. After considering a math major, Brian received a Bachelor of Arts in Christian education and a certificate in youth ministries. While at Taylor, Brian and Jennifer served as the youth ministers at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Marion. The couple married in December 1987 at College Wesleyan Church, with Brian’s grandfather presiding.

The Shivers live in Washington Township with their wonderful teenage daughter, their chocolate lab, and tuxedo cat. Brian has an older brother and sister, both of whom live in the Indianapolis area.

Contact Rev. Brian Shivers

Ala’a Wafa — Governance Committee


Muslim Community
Background:

Ala’a Wafa is currently Associate Counsel in the Legal Department at Cummins Inc. in their Indianapolis office. She also currently serves on the board of the Center for Interfaith Cooperation. Ala’a received her bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a double major in Political Science and International Relations. After completing her bachelors, Ala’a worked as a Staff Assistant, and later Legislative Correspondent, for U.S. Senator Russ Feingold in Washington, D.C. She then pursued her law degree from Michigan State University-College of Law, with a concentration in International and Comparative Law, before joining Cummins.

Ala’a is involved in interfaith work and presents in the central Indiana area on interfaith topics. She was published in the book “I Speak For Myself,” a collection of essays whose goal is to dismantle stereotypes of what it means to be a Muslim woman in America.

Why is interfaith important?

I grew up experiencing faith-based misunderstanding as well as the power of interfaith work to address that. My parents were deeply involved in interfaith work in southern Indiana and Wisconsin and I see myself continuing in their footsteps. I believe in its ability to build bridges of understanding and friendship. There are misconceptions today about people of different faiths that disenfranchise people and hinder our society’s ability to progress as fellow human beings. The interfaith community has a critical role to play in breaking down barriers of misunderstanding to build bridges of understanding.

Favorite quote:

Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

Contact Ala’a Wafa


Ashley Wagner — PR/Marketing Committee

Ashley Wagner is High Priestess with the Pagan Community. She has a strong interest in interfaith, she says, because the Pagan community has remained largely apart and hidden from the greater religious community. In these turbulent and uncertain times it is more important now than ever to foster greater understanding between members of different religious paths. The Pagan Community’s goal is to shed light on the parts of their religious practices that are frequently misunderstood and misused and to form a better understanding of the practices of our pagan neighbors.

She has been a practicing pagan for the past 25 years and currently works with two different circles in the Indianapolis area. She has led various groups of her own over the years. Though she currently does not have her own circle, she is a High Priestess of her Craft. She is a coordinator for Indy Pagan Pride, a festival that will be in its 21st year in 2018.

Ashley’s favorite quote or sacred text:

We don’t really have sacred texts, but there is a poem by Doreen Valiente called The Charge of the Goddess that is, I think, one of the most beautiful and important poems of Wicca, specifically. It never fails to inspire me.

Contact Ashley Wagner

Reverend Arionne Williams — Program Committee

Rev. Arionne Yvette Williams is Associate Chaplain at the University of Indianapolis. Background: She is originally from Kansas City, MO and is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. she earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Development with an emphasis in Child and Adolescent Development and a minor in Music (Voice) from Howard University (2005); a Master of Divinity with emphasis in Music Ministry from, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (2008); and a Certificate in Youth and Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary (2009). She is the author of “Love Like I’ve Never Been Hurt: How to Heal From Heartbreak,” (2015).

Why does Interfaith matter to Arionne?

It is vitally important that we work within to build bridges and relationships across religious difference, and get to know people who believe differently than we do. It enriches our own sacred stories, strengthens the bonds of community, and elevates the character of our society.

Favorite quote (sacred text, story, poem, other):

i found god in myself & i loved her/i loved her fiercely –Ntozake Shange

Contact Arionne Williams

Rev. Anastassia Zinke — Governance Committee

Anastassia Zinke most recently served as Religious Education Consultant at Goodloe Memorial Church in Bowie, MD. She previously filled the roles of Intern Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, Intern Minister at All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., and Youth Program Director at First Parish in Concord, Massachusetts. Zinke completed her undergraduate history degree at Bryn Mawr College and her Masters of Divinity at Union Theological Seminary in 2011. She and her husband, Kent, are new parents to a daughter, Sadie, and share a commitment to progressive causes, international travel, community service, and “embracing the adventure of life.”